LONG LIVE LIVE: TONY HAWK'S 50TH BIRTHDAY PARTY
The ritual blowing out of the candles at Moroccan Lounge on May 12 in Los Angeles.
WORDS & PHOTOS: Dave Swift
When I received my invite to Tony Hawk’s surprise 50th birthday event I knew some cool shit was going to go down. Of course, I knew that the list of skaters from the last few decades would be epic, but when I saw the words “Live Music” I immediately started making a list in my head of who might be playing. The Damned? The Adicts? Depeche Mode? Shit, you never know.
So when I got to the Moroccan Lounge that night I saw my old friend Mark Waters and he gave me the lowdown on who was going to be playing. All I know is I was glad I brought my camera because the images I’d be taking inside this small club were going to be sweet. But before any of that we had to wait for the guest of honor to arrive so everyone in attendance could give Tony the surprise of his life. I’m pretty sure it worked.
Teammates since way back: Rodney Mullen.
So, before the musicians dominated the event; longtime friend and skateboard legend Rodney Mullen hopped on stage, grabbed the microphone, and said some kind words about his fellow Bones Brigadier. It was great to hear Rodney speak about his longstanding relationship with Tony Hawk.
A one-of-a-kind gift from one of the world's most in demand musicians, Mark Mothersbaugh.
Next to hit the stage was a man named Mark Mothersbaugh. Not sure if you have heard of him before but maybe you know of his band Devo? Yep, sure enough, the lead singer and creative force behind songs like “Whip It,” “Freedom OF Choice,” “Mongoloid,” and so many more was on stage and talking about the man of the hour, Tony Hawk. Damn, that’s pretty fucking cool. Oh, and add to that he wrote new lyrics to Jocko Homo (referencing Tony) and recorded the song on vinyl to give to Tony as a birthday present. (I guess that solves the question of “What do you get a man who has everything?”) He also performed the song live to all of us in attendance.
An X-tra special surprise performance.
So how do you top that? I’ll tell you how. Legendary Los Angeles bandmates Exene Cervenka and John Doe of X walk on stage to do some acoustic versions of a selection of X songs and a few country covers. If you’ve never seen X live than you better do it next time they play in a town near you—not something you want to miss out on. I’ve seen them a few times but this was the first-time sans bass/drums and acoustic. Still fucking good.
Up to the stage walks Tony’s old friend Kevin Staab, taking the mic in his hand and wishing his buddy a happy birthday. He was so excited that he walked off the stage before announcing the band! No matter, because for those of us that cared about the music that night we knew that Poptone was playing because it was on the front of the bass drum of the kit that had been set up earlier in the evening.
Daniel Ash of Poptone.
I’m betting that hardly any of you reading this know who Poptone is, so I’m going to give you a brief explanation. From 1979-1983 there was a band called Bauhaus that had four members. Three of those members left in 1983. One went on to record solo, while the other two recorded songs as Tones On Tail. In 1985, the three who left Bauhaus decided to try and get the band back together but when the fourth member (the lead singer) was against it they decided to do their own thing and became Love And Rockets. The three members of Love and Rockets were guitarist/vocalist Daniel Ash, drummer Kevin Haskins, and bassist/vocalist David J, and they made some great music over the next five years.
Well, a couple years ago, Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins decided they missed playing shows and enlisted Kevin’s daughter Diva Dompé to play bass when David J (who is Kevin’s brother) decided not to work with the other two. Whatever the case, I saw them last year in San Diego and they were amazing.
Poptone took the stage on Tony’s night and played a short set of Tones/Love and Rockets songs and it looked like the guest of honor was a very happy man. Tony’s wife Cathy made it all happen and damned if it wasn’t the event of the year for skateboarding. Who says turning 50 isn’t awesome?
Birdhouse's Lizzie Armanto.
"Do A 900! Just kidding, Tony. Happy birthday."
Eddie "El Gato" Elguera and Tony "El Pajarito" Hawk. Two predators at peace.
OG Feasters alumnus Jeremy Klein and OH Tracker team manager Bryan Ridgeway bookending the man of the hour.
Happy birthday, Tony!